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New homelessness Street Fleet launches in Wales

The Wallich has launched five new homelessness outreach vehicles, called the Street Fleet, at a public event in Cardiff Bay. 

The event took place at Oval Basin, Cardiff Bay on Wednesday 16 May and welcomed the public, media and politicians to learn more about The Wallich’s mobile working, which supports people who are rough sleeping, and to meet the teams working with people who experience homelessness every day.

The five vehicles were purchased following its Reaching Out to Rough Sleepers campaign.

Welsh Government Housing and Regeneration Minister, Rebecca Evans AM, and The Wallich chief executive, LindsayCordery-Bruce were in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Thanks to the success of the 2017 Reaching Out to Rough Sleepers Winter campaign, in partnership with the South Wales Echo, The Wallich was able to purchase five brand-new vehicles for its Rough Sleepers’ Intervention Teams.

The vehicles will join The Wallich’s existing Welfare Vehicle, also on show at the launch, in taking homelessness services directly to people in need. The Welfare Vehicle, a large truck with an on-board bathroom, kitchenette and medical room, operates across the country responding to local needs such as a sudden increase in rough sleeping. It provides support to communities, groups and individuals in rural areas where there are few existing services, or to enhance outreach where services do exist. 

(L-R) Cardiff Rough Sleepers’ Intervention Team Will Eastwood and Danielle Martin

All six vehicles in the Street Fleet have been named by staff in memory of those special to The Wallich: 

  • Cardiff vehicle – Jeff 
  • Swansea vehicle – Shelia May  
  • Newport vehicle – Vladimir 
  • Bridgend vehicle – Norman 
  • Wrexham vehicle – Ziggy 
  • The Welfare Vehicle – Monty 

 The Reaching Out to Rough Sleepers campaign received support from more than 1,600 individuals and organisationsacross Wales and raised an incredible £91,502, which made purchasing the vehicles possible.

The Street Fleet will go out daily across Wales to those sleeping rough to offer provisions, support and advice. They can take people to The Wallich’s specialist centres to shower, use a washing machine and meet with staff in the hope of securing accommodation and further support. 

The vehicles can help keep people off the streets, by moving people and their possessions into hostels or their own homes.They can also take residents to training, education and work placements or on life-changing trips in an effort to break continuous cycles of homelessness. 

Chief executive of The Wallich, Lindsay Cordery-Bruce, said:

“Homelessness is currently at the forefront of the public’s mind as the number of people sleeping rough increases across the country. The Wallich worked with 8,019 people across Wales in 2017, an increase of 46% on the previous year. As a result, we are experiencing increased demand on our services.”

“We’re so grateful to the South Wales Echo and everyone who supported the campaign for their contribution which will have a direct and positive impact on the lives of vulnerable people. The new Street Fleet will improve the reach, speed and quality of The Wallich’s specialist homelessness services, take support to those who need it, where they need it, and will help get more people off the streets and into safety.”

Welsh Government Housing and Regeneration Minister, Rebecca Evans AM, said:

“I recently joined The Wallichintervention team on a breakfast run in Swansea and was really impressed at the range of services available and the team providing them. I found it really valuable to speak to the people who receive these services and listen to their stories, as well as to hear from the people who are helping to get them off the streets. This new fleet of vehicles can ensure that support is provided more quickly, and to more people.”